The Piped Swingset Tunic — the Best of Times and the Worst of Times

Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose It’s been a while since I’ve checked in here . . . but not because I’ve been slacking off. Truth be told, I’ve been pretty much sewing my ass off.  But between finishing projects after midnight on a fairly regular basis and doing all the other things we do in the summertime, I’ve been neglecting this little blog.  So, here I am today to chronicle the trials and tribulations of my very first attempt at the Oliver + S Swingset Tunic. (I’ve since made two dress versions of this pattern, one of which is made with the very same fabric that you see here.  But I’m going back in time today to catch you up on my process.) Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose When I started out on this project, I knew wanted to add piping.  I’m really into piping. I had read on various blogs that the construction of this tunic is a little counter intuitive, so I knew I’d need to put on my thinking cap for this one, especially when throwing piping into the mix.  Let me warn you . . . there was trial and error involved. First off, after reading the directions a time or two, I knew I’d need some help.  I found this very helpful post on the O+S blog.  I highly recommend it if you’re trying this one out for the first time. To add the piping, I got started putting the yoke together and separated the lining from the front of the yoke, as directed . . . Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Then, I sewed the piping onto the front of the yoke, matching the raw edges. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose As you can see, the yoke lining is not the same shape as the front, so you have to take care in pinning the lining out of the way. To add the piping to the back yoke, I did the same thing, sewing carefully across the placket. I then smugly sewed along, thinking I’m the greatest sewing genius on the planet.  But when I got the whole thing put together, I realized I’d made a near fatal error.  I didn’t read the directions carefully enough and had cut two of the pattern pieces for the straps, rather than cutting one piece and then cutting that piece in half.  So, the straps were twice as long as they should be.  Crap!! I didn’t want to take the whole thing apart to change out the straps.  I mean, I had already topstitched the yoke and everything.   So, I decided to be a smarty pants and snip the straps at the shoulder, cut them down to the correct size, and then sew them back together as you would when joining two pieces of bias tape.  What a marvelous solution. But . . . when doing something slightly complicated while watching the clock (knowing that the kids will be calling any minute) and while feeling slightly frustrated, things like this can happen. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Ouch.  Want another view? Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Even in the moment, I just had to laugh.  I mean . . . really????  This has to be one of my favorite sewing goofs ever! Needless to say, I regained my senses and decided to leave this to be fixed another day . . . with a clearer head.  Don’t worry — it all worked out in the end. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Now that we’ve gotten that little tale of woe out of the way, let’s get back to the piping.  I don’t think it’s a complete success. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar RoseIt looks pretty nice in the front, but it doesn’t lay flat in the back.  This is because when you construct the back yoke, you clip the seam allowance on either side of the placket. You then press the seam allowance away from the yoke at the placket and toward the yoke everywhere else.  Sounds weird, but that’s how you do it.  Anyway, the seam allowance thing keeps the piping from laying nice and flat all the way across the back. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose See what I mean?  This is why I decided to forgo the piping on my next Swingsets.  It was worth a try, though. I should also mention that Kiki is wearing the Oliver + S Sailboat Pants I made after she pleaded and pleaded for pants.  You may be wondering why I was loathe to provide her with the pants she so desperately wanted, especially when I had such a fab pattern as this sitting around.  The reason is that this kid never wears pants.  Never.  She swore up and down that she would wear these if I made them for her.  I indulged in this fantasy, because I knew she’d look so cute in them. Oliver + S Sailboat Pants And she does. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose Guess what.  She’s never worn them.  Not once 🙂  (I coerced her into wearing them for these photos with the promise of chocolate.)  Ah well, it was worth a shot.  There’s always a chance the Lulu will wear them in a year or two. Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose The other unfortunate thing is that when Kiki wears it, she insists on tucking it in.  She does this will all tops for some reason.  I don’t want to stifle her sense of style, but it’s really not the best look . . . Oliver + S Swingset Tunic Heather Ross Briar Rose So for now, I think we’ll stick with dresses. Ah, motherhood.

5 responses

  1. So funny! I have sewn sleeves in, trimmed and overcast the seam, only to find out that I sewed them on INSIDE out! I cried before I laughed about that one. It took a week before I could laugh. The top and pants are both adorable on your daughter. Some children are just very determined about their clothing choices. My son was that way. When he was four he decided that he wouldn’t wear anything but polo shirts with a collar and pants with zippers and belt loops ‘like daddy’. That meant no t-shirts or any pants with an elastic waist. Clothes shopping for him was expensive.

    • I’m sure I’ve done the same with a sleeve at some point. How is that that no matter how long you’ve been sewing, these mistakes still happen? I blame distractions caused by NPR. Or maybe it’s just me??
      It’s cute that your son wanted to dress like his dad — but I’m sure the shopping wasn’t ideal. It’s so hilarious that kids get stuck on little details like zippers and belt loops! My 3 year old will only wear skirts or dresses that twirl, or “spread around” as she puts it. No exceptions.

  2. Oh, we had a tucking in phase! I’m happy to be moving out of it (I think!). Nice work on the experimenting and the perseverance! The piping is sweet!

    • I’m glad to hear that you all moved out of the tucking in phase 😉 This gives me hope. Skirt and top sets just don’t work when the wearer doesn’t cooperate!
      Glad you like the piping.

  3. Ah – sewing mishaps. We’ve all been there, and if it’s any consolation, I enjoyed reading about yours! How incredibly frustrating, but the top is really gorgeous. That yoke sounds complicated – I guess the solution next time might be to pipe only at the front. And at least you got a photo of the pants, even if they’re never worn again!

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